Recently I finished a book titled Notes from a Blue Bike: The Art of Living Intentionally in a Chaotic World. This book was written by a great blogger, Tsh Oxenreider, who is the founder and blogger at The Art of Simple.
The book, a manifesto of sorts about Tsh’s quest to live more simply, more fully, and more purposefully, has pushed me to continue my own quest finding our family’s personal definition for living simply. It is a fantastic book, and I highly recommend you pick it up or purchase it on Amazon.
This quest has led me to April’s Plunge. If you are new to my blog, liveupsidedown, then pop over to the original Plunge page – it will help you understand the nature of The Plunge, and why we are monthly challenging ourselves to live outside of the box, adventuring to make every day the best day ever.
This year I’ve been exploring the word, CHOOSE, and how we, everyday, are offered a choice – although we can’t control what happens to us, we can certainly control how we respond to it. So this month, the month of April, I am going to CHOOSE to take my baby steps toward living more simply.
I am also going to read another book about this process written by a great blogger, Jen Hatmaker, who went on a journey with her own family to find simplicity. During the month of April, while I am exploring what simple is going to mean in the Wisehart household, I am going to dive into Jen’s journey.
This book, called The 7 Experiment, is about Jen’s family’s mutiny against the excess in our lives – the overindulgence, materialism, and greed we are fighting (or giving in to) on a daily basis. If you have any interest, pick up the book with me and let’s go on this journey together. And don’t forget to start by reading Notes from a Blue Bike as well – it is full of practical ideas, real people, and the real struggle to value what is important in life.
But I digress. We are on our own journey together, aren’t we, Plungers? (I know, some of you don’t like being called Plungers. But think about it this way – plungers are used to suck the bad stuff out and replace it with clear water. Hmmmmmmm….) So let’s forge forward into this month’s Plunge.
Get rid of 30 bags in the next 30 days
There is a great blog that I’ve referenced before during the Plunge called White House Black Shutters. And every year since 2011, she’s been doing a 40 bags in 40 days challenge. Well, for The Plunge purposes, we are going to do 30 bags in 30 days.
Now, I recognize that you might be on Spring Break for some of those days, or you might be busy one or two (or thirteen) of those days. But as long as you get rid of those 30 bags during the month of April, you are good.
The blogger at White House Black Shutters has a cool printable and other suggestions as to how you can complete this process, so I highly suggest you visit her blog and check it out. I am excited to donate, trash, and recycle a lot of things I haven’t even thought about in years.
The most important part is figuring out what you really NEED. How important is that box that’s been sitting in the attic the last two years?
That’s what I thought.
The Slow Food Approach (at least once a week)
One my favorite parts of Tsh’s book is when she introduces the concept of “slow food.” In Chapter 8, she defines Slow Food as “living an unhurried life, beginning at the table” (Oxenreider 37).
She went on to say, “As a working mom with three small children and a busy husband, I’m continually torn between convenience and doing the hard work of living congruously with my intentions. I want to feed my family the nourishing food they were created to eat, I want us to live in better appreciation with the seasons of nature and have our meals reflect that, and I want to support companies, farmers, and brands that treat people and planet fairly. But living intentionally means following through with those good intentions I’ll often wave away with a blithe, ‘Oh, we’ll get there eventually'” (38-39).
To take the SLOW FOOD approach, one needs to actually follow through with making a meal that consists of preservative free, non-GMO, clean foods. It means the meal is cooked, not microwaved. And it means that the family sits down together at the table to eat it.
Tsh ends that chapter by saying “Eating slower, with more intention, means enjoying food as it was meant to be eaten” (44). This month, spend one meal a week practice slow food approach and see what kind of changes occur in your own family.
For the final Plunge, at least once a week (but more is better), get outdoors. My friends know I am an obsessive cyclist. My teeth are chomping at the bit to get off the trainer and out on the pavement again. This winter has been brutal.
There is something about being outside in God’s beautiful creation that refreshes us, renews us, changes us. I know exercise is hard for many people. And I had always struggled with finding my sweet spot – what I really loved to do.
It’s as if I got on that bicycle and a whole new world opened up to me. I love the feeling of my legs pumping energy, of the wind on my face, of seeing the new terrain pass me by. Exercise is merely a by-product.
You need to find your “sweet spot.” Try different activities out and explore what your family can do together. But get outdoors. Breathe deep the fragrance of life. Live simply.
I would love to hear about how these challenges are going for you. Please feel free to comment below and let me know how you are doing. Also, please subscribe to my blog (click here) and receive inspiration directly to your inbox. It makes everything “simple.”